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Incorporating decision-making into quarterly escape training.

Brnich-MJ Jr.; Hall-EE
Coal Age 2014 Nov; 119(11):44-47
For decades, emergency escape training has included few if any opportunities for challenging miners' decision-making capabilities. Generally mine safety and health practitioners have focused on select components of mine emergency escape such as knowledge of escapeways and the use of emergency breathing apparatus. It has only been since 2006 that miners have been required to participate in more frequent escape drills, based on one of four possible general emergency scenarios. Past research has shown that good judgment and decisionmaking is a critical element in mine emergency escape. While development and administration of training simulations for teaching miners judgment and decision-making skills is not new, the idea of teaching these skills in the context of mandated quarterly escape training is relatively new. As Cole et al. (2001) discussed, both mine safety trainers and miners themselves found substantial value in the use of classroom simulation exercises for teaching judgment and decision-making. Given these findings, there are compelling reasons for incorporating judgment and decision-making components into quarterly escape training to further enhance trainees' base of knowledge to aid them in escaping an underground mine emergency. This article has presented an overview of judgment and decision- making skills, including how the judgment and decisionmaking process takes place and how it can be incorporated into mine emergency escape situations. The example decision points provided offer a general framework for trainers to consider when developing new escape exercises. Readers are encouraged to read the NIOSH Report of Investigation 9692, which offers more information on judgment and decision making along with a complete sample escape situation that incorporates judgment and decision making (Brnich and Hall 2013). The more exposure miners receive to judgment and decision-making challenges through training scenarios, the better they will be at making solid decisions when escaping real-life mine emergencies, therefore improving their chances for survival.
Coal-mining; Coal-miners; Underground-mining; Underground-miners; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-education; Training; Mine-workers
Michael J. Brnich, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
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Coal Age